VistaGen Therapeutics is focused primarily on the use of its proprietary pluripotent stem cell technology to discover, rescue, and develop novel drug candidates for a wide range of diseases. The idea is to generate new chemical variants of once-promising small molecule drug candidates that pharmaceutical companies have put on hold during preclinical or early clinical trials due to heart or liver toxicity. Simply put: the drugs were effective but had some toxic side effects.
The company’s stem cell technology platform, Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube, is based on the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into multiple types of mature cells which can then be used in drug testing for superior predictive toxicity, enabling better drug rescue and development. The platform was developed to determine toxicity with greater flexibility, speed, and precision than technologies currently in use by the pharmaceutical industry.
VistaGen’s overall strategy is to develop a rich pipeline of drug rescue variants, proprietary new small molecule drug candidates that are as effective as the original drug candidates but without the toxicity that caused them to be shelved. VistaGen plans to do this in collaboration with contract drug development service firms.
Using the large amount of information in the public domain, VistaGen has identified numerous potential drug rescue candidates and is now focused on launching one or more drug rescue campaigns within the next three months. VistaGen plans to have economic participation rights to each and every drug it develops, benefitting its bottom line as well as its shareholders. The fact that the pharmaceutical industry is facing a major drug development crisis, largely due to the high cost of drug failures when toxicity and metabolism issues surface, VistaGen’s planned drug rescue strategy could be of especially significant long-term value.